SPRING HILL - Hundreds packed The Palace Grand in Spring Hill on Friday night for the 2013 Reagan Day Dinner.
Not surprisingly the event was sponsored by the Hernando County Republicans, and it featured guest speaker Gov. Rick Scott, emcee and State House of Representatives candidate Blaise Ingoglia, and Florida House Speaker Will Weatherford.
Central High School ROTC initiated the ceremony with a drill, and other Hernando students attending the event included high school students in student government, as well as Springstead Future Business Leaders.
Ingoglia said Scott was as genuine a man as they come.
"This man's heart is in the right place," he said. "The federal government is going one way, and the state of Florida is going the right way."
During his speech, Scott touched on similar topics as other speeches he's given across the state, notably reducing the state's $3.6 billion deficit, adding a $1.2 billion surplus this year, and paying back $3.5 billion the state owed the federal government.
Scott said Florida has been borrowing about $1 billion a year for the last 20 years from the federal government.
"That's no way to run a state," he said. "That's no way to run a federal government."
Scott said there are 271,000 job openings in the state right now and that he has cut taxes for manufacturing business since he took office. Scott has been known to send letters to businesses in other states, hoping to incentivize them to leave where they are currently doing business and relocate to Florida.
Scott was asked in an interview prior to the event what economic impacts he thought the Affordable Care Act would have on Florida.
"What the president said in 2009, if you like your health insurance you can keep it, is absolutely not true," Scott said, noting insurance companies dropped coverage for certain plans last week.
Scott said he spent part of his youth in a public housing project, and with hard work and education he went on to become successful in business.
"I ran for governor because I've lived the American dream," he said. "This country was built on equal opportunity. Not equal results, but equal opportunity."
Several dozen protesters held picket signs on both directions of traffic on U.S. 19 near The Palace Grand prior to the start of the event.